Football: Guardiola urges Neuer to savour Ballon d'Or moment

BERLIN (AFP) - Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola on Saturday urged his goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to savour the occasion at Monday's Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich, rather than worrying about winning the prize.

Speaking at Bayern's winter training camp in Doha, Qatar, the Spaniard said: "I said to him exactly what I said to Franck Ribery last year. Don't go there to win but to savour it."

Guardiola added that Neuer should be "very proud...because it is very difficult" to make the three-man shortlist.

Germany's World Cup-winning goalkeeper joins habitual podium-dwellers Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on the shortlist.

Between them, Ronaldo and Messi have won the last six editions, and Guardiola insisted that Neuer would not suffer any adverse effect if he failed to win the prize.

"Absolutely not. Manu has already won. If you go to Zurich, it is already a victory," said Guardiola.

Neuer will be joined at the ceremony on Monday by his team-mates Arjen Robben and Philipp Lahm and Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

If Neuer does receive the Ballon d'Or he will be the first German to do so since Lothar Matthaeus in 1990 and only the second goalkeeper after Lev Yashin, of the then Soviet Union, in 1963.

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